How to Set a Goal

Goal Setting

How to set goals

When it comes to succeeding at anything in life, the first thing you need are clear goals. Goals give us something to aim and strive for – something to continually reach for. And, when we have reached our goals, we set new ones. Without goals, people drift through life aimlessly and never accomplish much. But how do you set them?

Big or small goals

The size of the goal you have in mind is not the important part – whether they are big or small, having a goal is more important than what it is. You may also have different long term and short term goals as well. In the short term you might be looking at getting a promotion at work, whereas in the long term you might have aspirations of owning a second home in a different country. It might be something simple like taking 200 extra steps in a day to try and improve your health or cutting down on the fatty foods you eat. Goals can be related to any aspect of life and as they are yours and yours alone, it doesn’t matter whether they are big or small, only that you have set them.

How to decide on a goal

The first stumbling block to setting a goal is often not knowing what kind of goal you want to set. Your circumstances will have a big effect on what your goal is, but whatever it is, it should be something that makes you excited – something that you feel inspired to go after. When you are looking at setting a goal it should be something that you want to achieve, not what other people are telling you to achieve. If you want to start small and build up to bigger goals as you achieve the smaller ones, it can be much better for motivation than setting a lofty goal that seems impossible to reach from where you are now.

You goal might be any one of the following or something completely different:

  • Get out of debt in a set time frame
  • Spend an extra hour a week with your family
  • Exercise for half an hour every day
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Get promoted to a certain position in a certain time frame

Writing down your goal

Once you have decided on what your goal is, the next thing to do is write it down. Once it is written down you have a record of it and it is a step that actually makes it far more likely that you will reach the goal you have set. If you have a certain time frame to achieve your goal in and there is a planned process, it is a good idea to write it out on a calendar with the important dates in your plan marked as checkpoints or deadlines. These will help motivate you when everything in your daily life is getting in the way of reaching your goal.

When writing down your goal, you can also write it on post-its and put them on the refrigerator, wardrobe doors, mirrors and other places you regularly look. If you write down your goal in a way that says what you want to achieve and why in this way, you are constantly reminded of what you are aiming for e.g. I want to be fit enough t run up the stairs without being out of breath.

Spread the word

If you have a partner or close friend, tell them about your goal and what you are trying to achieve. If someone else knows about it, they can help hold you to account over it. Not only will they ask on how you are progressing towards your goal but also encourage you when you struggle and give you a kick when you are thinking of giving up.

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